Monica (automobile), Balbigny, Loire, France 1972 till 1974

Monica 560 drive

1973 Monica 1973 - Schriftzug am Heck

Monica 560

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1973 Monica 560
Overview
Manufacturer Monica
Model years 1973 – 1975
Assembly France: BalbignyLoire
Designer Tony Rascanu, David Coward
Body and chassis
Class Grand tourer
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Longitudinal front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Powertrain
Engine 5.6 L Chrysler LA V8(gasoline)
Transmission 3-speed automatic (TorqueFlite )
5-speed manual (ZF)
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,769 mm (109.0 in)
Length 4,928 mm (194.0 in)
Width 1,803 mm (71.0 in)
Height 1,346 mm (53.0 in)
Kerb weight 1,821 kg (4,015 lb)

Mon­ica is the name of a French lux­ury au­to­mo­bile pro­duced in the com­mune of Bal­bigny in the de­part­ment of Loire be­tween 1972 and 1974.

The beginning

The Mon­ica car was a pro­ject of Jean Tastevin, a grad­u­ate en­gi­neer of the École cen­trale de Paris. His fa­ther Ar­naud bought the Ate­lier et Chantiers de Bal­bigny in 1930. That com­pany was a man­u­fac­turer of min­ing and rail­way equip­ment. In 1955 Jean suc­ceeded his fa­ther, be­com­ing Chair­man and Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor. He re­named the com­pany Com­pag­nie française de pro­duits métal­lurgiques, or CFPM, and began to spe­cial­ize in the man­u­fac­ture and rental of rail­road tank cars. The fac­tory where the rolling stock was man­u­fac­tured op­er­ated under a dif­fer­ent name, being Com­pag­nie Française de Matériels Fer­rovi­aires (CFMF). The com­pany pros­pered, even­tu­ally com­ing to have 400 em­ploy­ees.

Tastevin was an au­to­mo­bile en­thu­si­ast who per­son­ally owned cars from Aston Mar­tin and Facel Vega. After Facel Vega shut down in 1964 he bought a Jaguar, but re­gret­ted not being able to buy a French-made car of that class.

In pur­suit of both his in­ter­est in cars and a way to di­ver­sify his rail­way busi­ness, Tastevin began mak­ing plans to launch his own brand of au­to­mo­bile in 1966. He made his long-time as­sis­tant, Henri Szykowksi, the pro­ject man­ager. He would also set aside a por­tion of his fac­tory in Bal­gigny so that the cars could truly be said to be made in France.

The car was named in ho­n­our of Tastevin’s wife, Monique Tastevin.

Monica 1973 in video

Development history and prototypes

Au­to­mo­tive en­gi­neer and rac­ing dri­ver Chris Lawrence’s com­pany Lawrence­Tune En­gines had de­vel­oped a 2.6-litre ver­sion of the Stan­dard en­gine used in the Tri­umph TR4. Lawrence’s ver­sion used a cross­flow cylin­der head of his own de­sign and Tecalemit-Jack­son fuel in­jec­tion to make a claimed 182 bhp (136 kW) bhp. Au­to­mo­tive jour­nal­ist Gérard ”Jabby” Crom­bac had seen the en­gine at the 1966 Rac­ing Show at Olympia West Hall in Lon­don. The ar­ti­cle he wrote about it had caught Tastevin’s eye. Tastevin wrote to Lawrence ask­ing about hav­ing Lawrence­Tune sup­ply 250 en­gines per year for his new car. Upon learn­ing that the car was not yet de­vel­oped, Lawrence of­fered the ser­vices of his own com­pany. Crom­bac, who was fa­mil­iar with Lawrence’s rac­ing ex­ploits, vouched for Lawrence and Tastevin en­trusted de­vel­op­ment of the Mon­ica to LawrenceTune.

The first chas­sis and the jig to pro­duce it were built to­gether. Lawrence laid out a chas­sis with a cen­tral tun­nel made of four square-sec­tion 18 gauge steel tubes with ex­ten­sive cross-brac­ing. Two long steel boxes with tri­an­gu­lar cross-sec­tions were made of 16 gauge steel and at­tached to the chas­sis in the door sill area. These stiff­ened the chas­sis and were also to serve as the car’s fuel tanks. 16 gauge alu­minum formed the front and rear bulk­heads and floors and was used on both sides of the cen­tral tun­nel to stiffen the car fur­ther. Voids in the tun­nel were filled with ex­panded polyurethane foam to add even more stiff­ness and deaden sound.

The front sus­pen­sion used very tall up­rights with the wheel spin­dles on one side and a short stub axle ex­tend­ing in­wards on the other. Spring­ing was by ver­ti­cally mounted coil-over-damper units mounted in­board and op­er­ated through rocker-style upper arms. The lower arms were con­ven­tional wide-based wish­bones made of a one-piece wish­bone and long ra­dius arm run­ning back to­wards the bulk­head. Steer­ing was rack-and-pin­ion mounted high, at the same level as the upper wish­bone.

The rear sus­pen­sion was a De Dion sys­tem with coil springs, two par­al­lel lead­ing links on each side and a Pan­hard rod. The dif­fer­en­tial was from the Rover P6B (also known as the Rover 3500) with a crown-and-pin­ion made by Hew­land, but with an ad­di­tional nose-piece that gave the op­tion of two rear-axle ra­tios; a high-nu­meric ratio for in town and a low-nu­meric ratio for high-speed cruising. A lever in the cock­pit al­lowed the ratio to be changed while in mo­tion.

Brak­ing was pro­vided by a dual-cir­cuit power as­sisted Lock­heed and Girling sys­tem with 12-inch vented disks in front and 10-inch solid disk brakes in the rear. The rear brakes were mounted in­board and the front brakes were mounted to the stub-axle on the front up­right, which brought them out of the wheels and into the air-stream for cool­ing.

As the pro­to­type chas­sis was near­ing com­ple­tion Lawrence began to have sec­ond thoughts about using the Lawrence­Tune/Stan­dard-Tri­umph en­gine. Lawrence knew that the Tri­umph en­gine was to be phased out of pro­duc­tion by 1967. He also felt that this rel­a­tively heavy, rough, and noisy en­gine was not ap­pro­pri­ate for a new lux­ury car.

Lawrence put Tastevin in touch with Ed­ward C. “Ted” Mar­tin, who had de­signed an en­gine that Lawrence thought would work well in the Monica. After eval­u­at­ing the en­gine Tastevin bought the de­sign, rights and ex­ist­ing tool­ing for Ted Mar­tin’s en­gine. The agree­ment in­cluded four com­plete 3.0 litre engines.

The Mar­tin en­gine was an all-al­loy V8 with a sin­gle over­head camshaft (SOHC) per bank dri­ven by a toothed-belt (orig­i­nally Gilmer belt – see also Tim­ing belt). De­signed for the new 3-litre limit an­nounced for the 1966 For­mula One sea­son, it weighed just 230 lb (100 kg) with an­cil­lar­ies and pro­duced 270 bhp (200 kW)@7000 rpm. An un­usual fea­ture of the Mar­tin V8 was that four of the con­nect­ing rods were forked at the big end, much like those on the Rolls Royce Mer­lin engine. The con­nect­ing rod for the op­pos­ing cylin­der bore fit into the gap of the forked rod. This meant that the cylin­der banks were not off­set on the crank-line, re­duc­ing over­all en­gine length. The en­gine was used in the Pearce-Mar­tin F1 car as well as the Lu­cas-Mar­tin, a mod­i­fied Lotus 35 For­mula 2 frame that was run briefly in For­mula One. It also ap­peared in 2.8-litre form in some spe­cials, in­clud­ing some of Lawrence’s own Deep Sander­son sports and rac­ing cars.

This ini­tial pro­to­type first ran at Sil­ver­stone in 1968 with­out bodywork. The dri­ve­train for the car was a 3-litre Mar­tin V8 dri­ving through a Tri­umph TR4 gear­box with overdrive. The car weighed 1070 kg. Over­all per­for­mance was good but the test­ing un­cov­ered prob­lems with the en­gine and its lack of road-car an­cil­lar­ies.

Body­work for the first pro­to­type was fab­ri­cated by Mau­rice Gomm. This car was very dif­fer­ent in ap­pear­ance from the sub­se­quent pro­to­types and the pro­duc­tion mod­els and has been com­pared to an over­sized Pan­hard CD. Nei­ther Tastevin nor his wife were happy with the ap­pear­ance of the first pro­to­type.

A sec­ond pro­to­type chas­sis was built and sent to Williams & Pritchard, who pro­duced a body for it in alu­minum. The style of this body was much more an­gu­lar than the first. Tastevin per­son­ally re­quested some last-minute changes to the shape which would be un­done in later pro­to­types, but in gen­eral pro­to­type #2 set the gen­eral di­rec­tion for sub­se­quent bodies. This sec­ond car was reg­is­tered as a Deep Sander­son and given reg­is­tra­tion num­ber 2 ARX. After its use as a de­vel­op­ment mule pro­to­type #2 was used as a per­sonal car by team mem­ber Colin James, after which it was ac­quired by Peter Dodds, an­other mem­ber of the Mon­ica team.

In 1969 pro­to­type chas­sis #3, the first to re­ceive a ZF 5-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion, was built. At this time the Tastevins in­tro­duced Tudor (Tony) Ras­canu, a Ro­man­ian exile and for­mer shop man­ager for Vi­g­nale in Italy, to the pro­ject. Ras­canu was en­trusted with the job of com­pletely restyling the body­work for the third pro­to­type, but was not al­lowed to make any mod­i­fi­ca­tions to Lawrence’s chas­sis, which was to be sent to French coach-builder Henri Chapron in Paris. Chapron was to build a full-sized ma­que­tte, or body-form, of the re­vised car under Ras­canu’s oversight. Ras­canu and Capron’s work met with Tastevin’s ap­proval. With hid­den head­lamps in a slop­ing aero­dy­namic nose and wide hor­i­zon­tal tail­lights it was much more ap­peal­ing than the pre­vi­ous two at­tempts. The ma­que­tte was then sent to Car­rozze­ria Al­fredo Vi­g­nale in Turin to be used as a base for Vi­g­nale to pro­duce a body in steel.

Be­fore de­liv­er­ing the ma­que­tte to Vi­g­nale, Tastevin asked Lawrence to first de­liver pro­to­type #2 to the work­shops of Vir­gilio Con­rero, also in Turin. The fa­mous Alfa me­chanic was to do a de­tailed as­sess­ment of the Mar­tin en­gine and eval­u­a­tion of the car’s performance. Con­rero was crit­i­cal of al­most every as­pect of the Mar­tin en­gine and was skep­ti­cal of the power curves pro­vided by Lawrence. He told the fac­tory “this en­gine is a trap that will never work under nor­mal traf­fic conditions”. Con­rero in­sisted on a fly­ing-kilo­me­tre test of the pro­to­type, after which he would run his 2-litre Giuli­etta on the same course for com­par­i­son. Lawrence sus­pected that Con­rero was try­ing to dis­credit both the Mar­tin en­gine and Lawrence­Tune in an at­tempt to take Lawrence’s place on the Mon­ica pro­ject. He ex­am­ined the times recorded for the Mon­ica’s run and dis­cov­ered an ir­reg­u­lar­ity in the num­bers. When Tastevin con­fronted Con­rero with this in­for­ma­tion the test­ing was halted and Con­rero’s in­volve­ment in the pro­ject ended.

Lawrence de­liv­ered chas­sis #3 to Vi­g­nale’s car­roz­e­ria, and they com­pleted the body in steel. While pro­to­type #3 was a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment the Tastevins were not yet en­tirely sat­is­fied with its ap­pear­ance. Per­for­mance of this car was also dis­ap­point­ing due to it being be­tween 200 kg (440 lb) and 250 kg (550 lb) over­weight. By way of ex­pla­na­tion Lawrence drilled a hole into the scut­tle. The drill pen­e­trated 13 mm (0.5 in) of lead. Vi­g­nale, in the mean time, sold his com­pany to DeTomaso in De­cem­ber 1969 and died three days later in an au­to­mo­bile ac­ci­dent while dri­ving a Maserati.

Dur­ing the May 1968 events in France, Tastevin de­camped the en­tire staff of CFPM to Geneva and tasked Lawrence to keep the Mon­ica pro­ject going. Tastevin pro­vided Lawrence with fund­ing to find sub-con­trac­tors to build cars in England. Lawrence ap­proached Jensen, who he knew were al­ready build­ing cars for SunbeamVolvo and Austin-Healey as well as their own C-V8s and In­ter­cep­tors. Jensen was not set up to pro­duce the body pan­els though. Pan­els for their other as­sem­bly con­tracts came from out­side of the com­pany. Lawrence took pro­to­type #3 and went look­ing for some­one to pro­vide the pan­els. He found a com­pany named Air­flow Stream­line in Luton that spe­cial­ized in pro­duc­ing alu­minum cabs for trucks. Air­flow only asked for a com­plete set of en­gi­neer­ing draw­ings, a chas­sis and the num­ber of body pan­els that Lawrence would require. Chas­sis #4 and #6 were de­liv­ered to Air­flow Stream­line and Ras­canu was in­stalled there to su­per­vise the pro­duc­tion of the nec­es­sary draw­ings.

An­other sub-con­trac­tor would be needed to sup­ply the en­gines. Two pos­si­bil­i­ties pre­sented them­selves. One was Coven­try-Vic­tor, and the other was Rolls-Royce. Lawrence had heard that Rolls-Royce had re­cently idled one of their pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties due to the loss of a con­tract and might be in­ter­ested in tak­ing on the Mar­tin V8 project. Lawrence met with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Rolls-Royce, who were fas­ci­nated by the small size of the Mar­tin V8 and in­trigued by the forked con­nect­ing rods so rem­i­nis­cent of those in Rolls-Royce’s own Mer­lin. Rolls-Royce sub­se­quently won an­other de­fense con­tract which would re­ac­ti­vate the pre­vi­ously idled plant and bowed out of ne­go­ti­a­tions. Lawrence went back to Coven­try-Vic­tor.

In the in­ter­ven­ing time things had set­tled down in Paris, and Tastevin wanted to move the pro­ject along quickly. Chas­sis #5 was sent to the fac­tory in Bal­bigny while Lawrence set about es­tab­lish­ing a ma­chine shop at Lawrence­Tune En­gines able to pro­duce the en­gines as well. Prob­lems with cast­ings com­ing from a com­pany called Birm­ing­ham Al­loys prompted Lawrence to have Tastevin search his con­tacts in the French alu­minum in­dus­try for an al­ter­na­tive sup­plier, set­tling on a com­pany called Montupet.

Air­flow Steam­line was still with­out their tech­ni­cal draw­ings and was not get­ting any in­for­ma­tion out of Paris. It turned out that Ras­cenu, sadly, had died in 1970 be­fore being able to com­plete the drawings. Lawrence met with Air­flow Stream­line to dis­cuss the changes they wanted in the ma­que­tte and Lawrence con­vinced Air­flow to build two bod­ies on the two chas­sis they had using pro­to­type #3, which would be left there, as a struc­tural guide. The car they would pro­duce, pro­to­type #4, would be Lawrence’s favourite Mon­ica of all.

David Cow­ard was hired from Au­to­car mag­a­zine where he was work­ing as an illustrator. Prior to that he had worked at coach­builder James Young. Cow­ard re­fined Ras­canu’s de­sign by low­er­ing the side win­dow line and deep­en­ing the wind­screen to give the car a more con­tem­po­rary ap­pear­ance. The body was also low­ered three inches be­tween the floor pan and the roof and four inches were added to the width.

After sort­ing out some is­sues with pro­to­type #4 at­ten­tion turned to tool­ing. Tool­ing to pro­duce the body­work in alu­minum turned out to be pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive, but a com­pany named Ab­bate was found in Turin that would make tool­ing out of resin that would be able to pro­duce up to 100 body sets in steel. The price for the set would be £100,000.

When the un­rest in Paris had sub­sided the idea of con­tract­ing out pro­duc­tion of the car had ended, but Tastevin had kept Coven­try-Vic­tor under con­tract to pro­duce the en­gines. They had been asked to pro­duce 25 copies of the en­gine in a 2.8 litre dis­place­ment. Coven­try-Vic­tor was only able to pro­duce 18 en­gines be­fore de­clar­ing bankruptcy.

At the same time Lawrence had pressed ahead with pro­duc­ing the en­gines at Lawrence­Tune head­quar­ters in Eng­land. Tests of the 2.8 litre en­gine led him to be­lieve that this ver­sion was un­der-pow­ered for the car, and so he en­larged his. With dis­place­ment in­creased to 3423 cc fed by four 2-bar­rel Weber 40 DCLN down-draught car­bu­re­tors and the Mon­ica name in script cast into its valve-cov­ers, the re­vised en­gine pro­duced 240 bhp (180 kW)@6000 rpm. While max­i­mum torque wasn’t pro­duced until 4000 rpm the torque curve was rel­a­tively flat from 2500 to 4000 rpm.

Even­tu­ally the tech­ni­cal draw­ings were com­pleted and ap­proved by Tastevin, which Lawrence de­liv­ered to Turin along with pro­to­type #4 so that pro­duc­tion of the body pan­els using the resin/steel hy­brid tool­ing could begin. Com­par­isons have been drawn be­tween the final shape of the Mon­ica and many of its con­tem­po­raries, with the front view hav­ing been com­pared to the Maserati Indy and Lotus Elan +2, the rear to the Fer­rari 365 GT 2+2, and the side el­e­va­tion to the Aston Mar­tin DBS.

Prob­lems con­tin­ued with the en­gine how­ever. Blown head-gas­kets were com­mon and dif­fi­cul­ties with de­liv­er­ies of both block and cylin­der head cast­ings held back development.

In an ex­clu­sive ar­ti­cle in l’Auto-Jour­nal, writ­ers Jean Mis­tral and Gilles Guérithaut pub­lished a pre­view of the Mon­ica’s debut at the up­com­ing Salon de l’Auto in Oc­to­ber along with an in­ter­view with Tastevin. Among the things the founder re­vealed were his plans to build 400 cars per year.

Tastevin de­cided that the car would debut at the Salon de l’Auto show in Paris in Oc­to­ber 1971. The car on dis­play was pow­ered by a Mar­tin V8 and was called the Mon­ica 350. Tastevin arranged to have a car raised to the tenth floor of a Paris hotel the day be­fore the show, and then have it moved over to the Salon, where the car was re­ceived en­thu­si­as­ti­cally. The morn­ing after the day of the show Lawrence was ap­proached by Zora-Arkus Dun­tov, who asked if he could take the car for a drive. Lawrence handed him the keys.

Shortly after the Paris auto show, Tastevin phoned Lawrence and told him that he had arranged for the car to be eval­u­ated by a team from Matra. A team of six from Matra drove the cars for over three hours straight and then met with Tastevin. The out­come of the eval­u­a­tion was that the Matra en­gi­neers thought that the car should go into pro­duc­tion, but only with a dif­fer­ent engine.

Con­sid­er­a­tion was given to using an Aston Mar­tin V8, but that op­tion was too ex­pen­sive to pur­sue. Lawrence was sent to the United States to meet with Ford, Chevro­let and Chrysler to arrange for a sup­ply of en­gines. Ford and Chevro­let were quickly elim­i­nated from the run­ning but Chrysler was very open to the idea. At the be­gin­ning of 1973 the de­ci­sion was fi­nally made to aban­don the Mar­tin V8 and adopt a North Amer­i­can en­gine, specif­i­cally the 5.6-litre (5563 cc) “340” Chrysler LA se­ries V8.

To han­dle the extra weight power-steer­ing was added, and the rear axle was beefed up. As an added bonus, Chrysler shipped the en­gines with an air-con­di­tion­ing com­pres­sor, so that fea­ture was added at the same time. Other minor changes in­cluded fab­ri­cat­ing the req­ui­site motor mounts, hav­ing two new vents let into the fend­ers and, on later mod­els, two ad­di­tional grilles fit­ted to the hood.

Dur­ing road test­ing the new Chrysler en­gines began to fail. After in­ves­ti­gat­ing it be­came ap­par­ent that the cause of these prob­lems was that these en­gines were not de­signed to run for ex­tended du­ra­tion at the speeds pos­si­ble on the con­ti­nent. Lawrence re­turned to the States look­ing for the re­sources to rem­edy these prob­lems.

The en­gines des­tined for use in Mon­i­cas would all be spe­cially tuned by Racer Brown in the United States. Mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the en­gines in­cluded a Racer Brown stage 3 road camshaft with hy­draulic lifters, an Edel­brock Tor­quer in­take man­i­fold, a 4-bar­rel Holly R6909 750 CFM car­bu­re­tor, a Chrysler ma­rine spec­i­fi­ca­tion oil pump, Cle­vite shell bear­ings, Forge True pis­tons, Ma­rine spec­i­fi­ca­tion valves, and a Fel­pro race-qual­ity gas­ket set.[1]:181 The com­pres­sion ratio was 10.5:1. All of these changes com­bined to bring out­put to 285 bhp (213 kW)@5400 rpm and 333 lb⋅ft (451 N⋅m)@4000 rpm.

It is re­ported that some cars may have been built with the larger 5.9 litre (5898 cc) “360” ver­sion of the Chrysler LA en­gine. These cars would have been des­ig­nated Mon­ica 590s. The di­men­sions at­trib­uted to this ver­sion by var­i­ous sources dif­fer, some­times sig­nif­i­cantly, from those of the 560 model. In par­tic­u­lar the 590 is listed as being 630mm shorter with a 100mm shorter wheel­base and 140 kg heav­ier. It was also more pow­er­ful, the en­gine being rated at 315 bhp (235 kW) and 332 lb⋅ft (450 N⋅m).

The re­vised and re­named Mon­ica 560 made its world pre­mier at the Geneva Auto Show in March 1973. It would ap­pear again at the Paris Auto Show in Oc­to­ber. The car was priced at 164,000 francs (roughly US$34,000 at the time), at a time when a Rolls-Royce Sil­ver Shadow cost 165,000 francs.

After the Geneva show Tastevin in­vited sev­eral rac­ing dri­vers and au­to­mo­tive jour­nal­ists to Paul Ri­card’s cir­cuit, Le Castel­let, to eval­u­ate the new Chrysler-pow­ered car. Among those there was dri­ver/jour­nal­ist Paul Frère, whom Tastevin in­vited to “lend a hand” in sort­ing out the car’s han­dling. He would also be the per­son who wrote the semi-of­fi­cial obit­u­ary for the Mon­ica car.

A rapid suc­ces­sion of pro­to­types would be built to fi­nal­ize the car. The cars at Le Castel­let were num­bers 8 and 9. Num­bers 10 and 11 were built for crash-test­ing and num­bers 12, 13 and 14 came after. Pro­to­type 14 was ba­si­cally pre-pro­duc­tion and would even­tu­ally be one of the cars Tastevin kept for his per­sonal use. Tastevin had hired a di­rec­tor to get pro­duc­tion under way at Bal­bigny, but noth­ing was built for a year while the new di­rec­tor stalled and made changes to the car. Even­tu­ally Tastevin fired the di­rec­tory and turned pro­duc­tion over to Lawrence­Tune again while he looked for a new director. The car was also sub­se­quently shown at the Earls Court auto show.

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AGENDA 21: SANTA MONICA TAKES OUT 1 CAR LANE FOR BIKE CORRIDOR ON BRIDGE.
LAFD Engine 43 / Auto / EB Santa Monica FWY @ Overland

The car

With the long de­vel­op­ment pe­riod fi­nally at an end, pro­duc­tion gets un­der­way in Bal­bigny.

The car is built on Lawrence’s steel-tube and sheet metal chas­sis. The body is Ras­canu’s de­sign with Cow­ard’s re­vi­sions ex­e­cuted en­tirely in steel. Five ex­te­rior colours are avail­able: At­lantic Blue, Azure Blue, Pur­ple Ama­ranth, Chest­nut Brown and Beige Sand. The final ver­sion of Lawrence’s rocker-arm/De Dion sus­pen­sion is au­to­mat­i­cally lev­el­ing, and the car sits on four Miche­lin 215/70VR-12 Col­lec­tion tires mounted on 14 inch alloy wheels. The orig­i­nal sill-mounted fuel tanks have been re­placed with a sin­gle tank under the floor of the trunk due to reg­u­la­tory re­stric­tions.

The power-as­sisted rack-and-pin­ion steer­ing is con­nected to an ad­justable steer­ing col­umn that is topped by a cus­tom Mo­tolita steer­ing wheel.

Brak­ing on the pro­duc­tion Mon­ica was still a dual cir­cuit sys­tem with Lock­heed disks in­board at the front op­er­ated by a 4-pis­ton caliper and Girling disks at the rear op­er­ated by a 3-pis­ton caliper but the disks front and rear were both now 11 inch ven­ti­lated pieces.

The seats are up­hol­stered in Con­nolly leather avail­able in three colours: Ma­rine, Ha­vana, and Cham­pagne. The floor is cov­ered in Shet­land wool car­pet­ing. The dash­board is fin­ished in burl elm wood and suede.

The state of the car is mon­i­tored by a brace of cus­tom Jaeger in­stru­ments all bear­ing the Mon­ica name. Gauges in­clude a speedome­ter, tachome­ter, oil tem­per­a­ture gauge, oil pres­sure gauge, am­me­ter, water tem­per­a­ture gauge, fuel gauge, and clock.

The win­dows are elec­tri­cally op­er­ated. A High-fi­delity sound sys­tem with in­te­grated tape recorder and player is stan­dard equip­ment, as is an air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem with sep­a­rate con­trols for the rear seat pas­sen­gers. The doors on the Mon­ica are elec­tri­cally op­er­ated to open and close silently at the touch of a but­ton. In the trunk is a com­plete set of cus­tom lug­gage.

With a quoted top speed of 240 km/h (150 mph) the Mon­ica 560 could lay claim to being “The fastest sedan in the world” at the time.

Pho­tos from the pe­riod in­di­cate that a fu­ture coupe and con­vert­ible were al­ready being planned.

The end

The Mon­ica 560 makes its last pub­lic ap­pear­ance at the Paris Auto Salon Paris Auto Show in Oc­to­ber 1974. On Feb­ru­ary 7 of 1975 Tastevin an­nounces the ces­sa­tion of pro­duc­tion and closes the com­pany.

Many fac­tors con­tributed to the fail­ure of the car. It en­dured a seven-year long ges­ta­tion pe­riod. The car was re­mark­ably ex­pen­sive while lack­ing the kind of rep­u­ta­tion or recog­ni­tion en­joyed by other more es­tab­lished mar­ques in this mar­ket. It faced com­pe­ti­tion from many sim­i­lar-sized low-vol­ume man­u­fac­tur­ers. Fi­nally, it had the mis­for­tune to be of­fi­cially re­leased just as the first major oil cri­sis made fuel prices jump and large ex­pen­sive mo­tor­cars less de­sir­able.

Five Mon­i­cas re­main­ing at the Lawrence­Tune head­quar­ters were sold by Lawrence to Cliff Davis and Bernie Ec­cle­stone, the pro­ceeds being pay­ment for Lawrence­Tunes work for Tastevin. Lawrence was dri­ving pre-pro­duc­tion car #21 at the time. The Tastevins kept three Mon­i­cas for their own use.

The pro­duc­tion as­sets of the Mon­ica com­pany and as many as thirty cars in var­i­ous stages of com­ple­tion were sold to French race dri­ver and For­mula One team owner Guy Ligier. Ligier did not re­sume pro­duc­tion.

In April 1976 Motor Sport mag­a­zine re­ported an an­nounce­ment by Bob Jankel of Pan­ther West­winds that his com­pany and C.J. Lawrence and Co. would re­sume pro­duc­tion of the Mon­ica. C.J. Lawrence and Co. would man­u­fac­ture sub-as­sem­blies and Pan­ther would as­sem­ble, paint and trim the car. Power was else­where ru­mored to be com­ing from a Jaguar V12 motor. Pro­duc­tion would move from Bal­bigny to Sur­rey. Noth­ing came of these plans.

Six pro­duc­tion Mon­i­cas are known to exist. At least three of the pro­to­types are re­ported to re­main in Britain. Chris Lawrence per­son­ally owned a pro­duc­tion Mon­ica for sev­eral years that was sold from his estate.

Gallery

Literature

  • Monica – edited by Emory Christer ISBN 978-6-134977-82-1
  • Preston Tucker & Others: Tales of Brilliant Automotive Innovations ISBN 978-1-845840-17-4
  • Monica, automobile française de prestige by Frédéric Brandely. Hardcover (published June, 2012) ISBN 979-1090084049
  • Monica, automobile française de prestige by Frédéric Brandely. Paperback. ISBN 978-2-913307-13-1
  • Kevin Brazendale: The Encyclopedia of classic cars. Advanced Marketing Services, London 1999, ISBN 1-57145-182-X (engl.).

References

  1. abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzaaabacadaeafagahaiajakal Lawrence, Chris (2008). Morgan Maverick. Yorkshire: Douglas Loveridge Publications. ISBN978-1-900113-04-5.
  2. abc “1972/1975 Monica…”http://www.gatsbyonline.com. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  3. ^ “London Racing Car Show 1967”http://www.sportscars.tv. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  4. ^ “Ted Martin and the AMCO Engines”http://www.modelenginenews.org. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  5. ^ “Anglo-French Monica”http://www.motorsportmagazine.com. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  6. ^ “Monica Prototype No. 2”classiccars.brightwells.com. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  7. ^ “Tudor Rascanu, de Dody à Tony”voronet.centerblog.net. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  8. ^ “ECLIPSE AVORTEE”http://www.automobile-sportive.com. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  9. ^ “Monica : Belle, luxueuse, française et ancêtre des coupés 4 portes”blog.p.free.fr. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  10. ^ Georgano, Nick (2001). The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile (2nd ed.).
  11. ^ “1973 Monica 590 technical specifications”http://www.carfolio.com. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  12. ^ “History of Lawrence Tune     …… continued”http://www.lawrence-tune.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  13. ^ “Monica”http://www.allcarindex.com. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  14. ^ “1974 Monica”http://www.silverstoneauctions.com. Retrieved 2016-12-13.

External links

RILEY Automobiles and Motorcycles Coventry, England, UK

Riley Motor

The Riley Cycle Company Limited (1896–1912)
Riley (Coventry) Limited (1912–1950)
Riley Motors Limited (1950–1960)
Industry Automotive
Fate Acquired by William Morris in 1938 thereafter with Morris Motors Limited
Successor Nuffield Organisation
Founded 1896 as The Riley Cycle Company
Headquarters Coventry, England
Key people
William Riley (1851–1944)
William Victor Riley (1876–1958)
Allan Riley (c.1880– )
Percy Riley (1882–1941)
Stanley Riley (c.1889–1952)
Cecil Riley (c. 1895– )

12/18 c. 1910

and chauffeur for William Beveridge

Riley was a British motorcar and bicycle manufacturer from 1890. Riley became part of the Nuffield Organisation in 1938 and was merged into the British Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968. ln July 1969 British Leyland announced the immediate end of Riley production, although 1969 was a difficult year for the UK auto industry and cars from Riley’s inventory may have been first registered in 1970.

Today, the Riley trademark is owned by BMW.

Riley Cycle Company

The business began as the Bonnick Cycle Company of Coventry, England. In 1890 during the pedal cycle craze that swept Britain at the end of the 19th century William Riley Jr. who had interests in the textile industry purchased the business and in 1896 incorporated a company to own it named The Riley Cycle Company Limited. Later, cycle gear maker Sturmey Archer was added to the portfolio. Riley’s middle son, Percy, left school in the same year and soon began to dabble in automobiles. He built his first car at 16, in 1898, secretly, because his father did not approve. It featured the first mechanically operated inlet valve. By 1899, Percy Riley moved from producing motorcycles to his first prototype four-wheeled quadricycle. Little is known about Percy Riley’s first “motor-car”. It is, however, well attested that the engine featured mechanically operated cylinder valves at a time when other engines depended on the vacuum effect of the descending piston to suck the inlet valve(s) open. That was demonstrated some years later when Benz developed and patented a mechanically operated inlet valve process of their own but were unable to collect royalties on their system from British companies; the courts were persuaded that the system used by British auto-makers was based on the one pioneered by Percy, which had comfortably anticipated equivalent developments in Germany. In 1900, Riley sold a single three-wheeled automobile. Meanwhile, the elder of the Riley brothers, Victor Riley, although supportive of his brother’s embryonic motor-car enterprise, devoted his energies to the core bicycle business.

Riley’s founder William Riley remained resolutely opposed to diverting the resources of his bicycle business into motor cars, and in 1902 three of his sons, Victor, Percy and younger brother Allan Riley pooled resources, borrowed a necessary balancing amount from their mother and in 1903 established the separate Riley Engine Company, also in Coventry. A few years later the other two Riley brothers, Stanley and Cecil, having left school joined their elder brothers in the business. At first, the Riley Engine Company simply supplied engines for Riley motorcycles and also to Singer, a newly emerging motorcycle manufacturer in the area, but the Riley Engine Company soon began to focus on four-wheeled automobiles. Their Vee-Twin Tourer prototype, produced in 1905, can be considered the first proper Riley car. The Riley Engine Company expanded the next year. William Riley reversed his former opposition to his sons’ preference for motorised vehicles and Riley Cycle halted motorcycle production in 1907 to focus on automobiles. Bicycle production also ceased in 1911.

In 1912, the Riley Cycle Company changed its name to Riley (Coventry) Limited as William Riley focused it on becoming a wire-spoked wheel supplier for the burgeoning motor industry, the detachable wheel having been invented (and patented) by Percy and distributed to over 180 motor manufacturers, and by 1912 the father’s business had also dropped automobile manufacture in order to concentrate capacity and resources on the wheels. Exploitation of this new and rapidly expanding lucrative business sector made commercial sense for William Riley, but the abandonment of his motor-bicycle and then of his automobile business which had been the principal customer for his sons’ Riley Engine Company enforced a rethink on the engine business.

Riley (Coventry) Limited

Riley (Coventry) Limited share certificate issued 17 May 1937

In early 1913, Percy was joined by three of his brothers (Victor, Stanley, and Allan) to focus on manufacturing entire automobiles. The works was located near Percy’s Riley Engine Company. The first new model, the 17/30, was introduced at the London Motor Show that year. Soon afterwards, Stanley Riley founded yet another business, the Nero Engine Company, to produce his own 4-cylinder 10 hp (7.5 kW) car. Riley also began manufacturing aeroplane engines and became a key supplier in Britain’s buildup for World War I.

In 1918, after the war, the Riley companies were restructured. Nero joined Riley (Coventry) as the sole producer of automobiles. Riley Motor Manufacturing under the control of Allan Riley became Midland Motor Bodies, a coachbuilder for Riley. Riley Engine Company continued under Percy as the engine supplier. At this time, Riley’s blue diamond badge, designed by Harry Rush, also appeared. The motto was “As old as the industry, as modern as the hour.”

Riley grew rapidly through the 1920s and 1930s. The Riley Engine Company produced 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder engines, while Midland built more than a dozen different bodies. Riley models at this time included:

  • Saloons: Adelphi, ‘Continental'(Close-coupled Touring Saloon), Deauville, Falcon, Kestrel, Mentone, Merlin, Monaco, Stelvio, Victor
  • Coupes: Ascot, Lincock
  • Tourers: Alpine, Lynx, Gamecock
  • Sports: Brooklands, Imp, MPH, Sprite
  • Limousines: Edinburgh, Winchester

Introduced in 1926 in a humble but innovatively designed fabric bodied saloon, Percy Riley’s ground-breaking Riley 9 engine- a small capacity, high revving unit- was ahead of its time in many respects. Having hemispherical combustion chambers and inclined overhead valves, it has been called the most significant engine development of the 1920s. With twin camshafts set high in the cylinder block and valves operated by short pushrods, it provided power and efficiency without the servicing complexity of an OHC (overhead camshaft) layout. It soon attracted the attention of tuners and builders of ‘specials’ intended for sporting purposes. One such was engineer/driver J.G. Parry-Thomas, who conceived the Riley ‘Brooklands’ (initially called the ‘9’ Speed Model) in his workshops at the banked Surrey circuit. After Parry-Thomas was killed during a land speed record attempt in 1927, his close collaborator Reid Railton stepped in to finish the job. Officially backed by Riley, the Brooklands, along with later developments and variations such as the ‘Ulster’ Imp, MPH, and Sprite, proved some of the most successful works and privateer racing cars of the late 1920s and early 1930s. At Le Mans in 1934, Rileys finished 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 12th, winning the Rudge-Whitworth Cup, the Team Prize, two class awards, and the Ladies’ Prize. Rileys also distinguished themselves at the Ulster TT, at Brooklands itself, and at smaller events like hill climbs, while providing a platform for the success of motorsports’ first women racing drivers such as Kay Petre, Dorothy Champney and Joan Richmond. Another engineer/driver,Freddie Dixon, was responsible for extensive improvements to engine and chassis tuning, creating a number of ‘specials’ that exploited the basic Riley design still further, and contributed greatly to its success on the track.

For series production, the engine configuration was extended into a larger 12 horsepower ‘4’, six-cylinder and even V8 versions, powering an increasingly bewildering range of touring and sports cars. The soundness and longevity of the engine design is illustrated by Mike Hawthorn’s early racing success after WW2 in pre-war Rileys, in particular his father’s Sprite. By about 1936, however, the business had overextended, with too many models and few common parts, and the emergence of Jaguar at Coventry was a direct challenge. Disagreements between the Riley brothers about the future direction of the enterprise grew. Victor Riley had set up a new ultra-luxury concern, 1938 Autovia, to produce a V8 saloon and limousine to compete with Rolls-Royce. By contrast, Percy, however, did not favour an entry into the luxury market, and the Riley Engine Company had been renamed PR Motors to be a high-volume supplier of engines and components. Although the rest of the Riley companies would go on to become part of Nuffield and then BMC, PR Motors remained independent. After the death of Percy Riley in 1941, his business began producing transmission components and still exists today, producing marine and off-highway vehicle applications, as PRM Newage Limited based in Aldermans Green, Coventry. Percy’s widow Norah ran his business for many years and was Britain’s businesswoman of the year in 1960.

Riley sports saloons and coupés
Nine Biarritz
4-door saloon 1930
Nine Monaco
4-door saloon 1932
Nine Gamecock
2/4-str sports 1932
Nine Lynx
instrument panel
Nine Lynx
tourer 1934
Nine Merlin
4-light saloon 1935
Nine Kestrel
4-light saloon 1934
12/4 Kestrel
4-light saloon 1934
1½-litre Kestrel
4-light saloon 1935
1½-litre Kestrel
6-light saloon 1938
Riley 12/4 Kestrel 6-Light
16/4 2½-litre Kestrel
6-light saloon 1937
16/4 2½-litre Kestrel
6-light saloon 1937
14/6 Lincock
fixed head coupé ’34
1½-litre Falcon
4-door saloon 1935
15/6 Adelphi
six-light Saloon 1935
12/4 Lynx
sports tourer 1937

12/4 Continental
sports saloon 1937
Twelve
six-light saloon 1939
First Nuffield Model
Riley racing and sports cars
Nine Brooklands
open 2-seater 1931
1½-litre Sprite
TT Replica 1935
1½-litre Sprite
2-seater sports 1936
Nine MPH
2-seater sports 1936
Vincent MPH replica

Nuffield Organisation

Riley 12/4 Kestrel 6-Light

 

2½-litre Kestrel 1938
with the new Big Four engine

 RMD 2½-litre drophead coupé 1950

RMA 1½-litre saloon as a weddingcar 1951

 RMH 2½-litre Pathfinder 1953
the last real Riley with the Big Four engine 1956 example

By 1937, Riley began to look to other manufacturers for partnerships. A contract with Briggs Motor Bodies of Dagenham to provide all-steel bodies for a cheaper, more mass-market saloon had already turned sour, with dozens of unsold bodies littering the factory. It had withdrawn from works racing after its most successful year, 1934, although it continued to supply engines for the ERA, a voiturette (Formula 2) racing car based on the supercharged 6-cylinder ‘White Riley’, developed by ERA founder Raymond Mays in the mid-thirties. BMW of Munich, Germany was interested in expanding its range into England. But the Riley brothers were more interested in a larger British concern, and looked to Triumph Motor Company, also of Coventry, as a natural fit. In February 1938, all negotiations were suspended. On 24 February the directors placed Riley (Coventry) Limited and Autovia in voluntary receivership. On 10 March the Triumph board announced merger negotiations had been dropped.

It was announced on 9 September 1938 that the assets and goodwill of Riley Motors (Coventry) Limited had been purchased from the receiver by Lord Nuffield and he would on completion transfer ownership to Morris Motors Limited “on terms which will show very considerable financial advantage to the company, resulting in further consolidation of its financial position”. Mr Victor Riley then said this did not mean that the company would cease its activities. On 30 September Victor Riley announced that Riley (Coventry) Limited would be wound up but it would appear that the proceeds of liquidation would be insufficient to meet the amount due to debenture holders. Nuffield paid £143,000 for the business and a new company was formed, Riley Motors Limited. However, in spite of the announced intention to wind-up Riley (Coventry) Limited, perhaps for tax reasons, continued under the management of Victor Riley presumably with the necessary consents of debenture holders (part paid) creditors (nothing) and former shareholders (nothing). Nuffield passed ownership to his Morris Motors Limited for £100. Along with other Morris Motors subsidiaries Wolseley and MG, Riley would later be promoted as a member of the (1951) Nuffield Organisation. Riley Motors Limited seems to have begun trading at the end of the 1940s when Riley (Coventry) Limited disappeared..

Nuffield took quick measures to firm up the Riley business. Autovia was no more, with just 35 cars having been produced. Riley refocused on the 4-cylinder market with two engines: A 1.5-litre 12 hp engine and the “Big Four”, a 2.5-litre 16 hp unit (The hp figures are RAC Rating, and bear no relationship to bhp or kW). Only a few bodies were produced prior to the onset of war in 1939, and some components were shared with Morris for economies of scale. Though they incorporated a number of mechanical improvements- notably a Nuffield synchromesh gearbox- they were essentially interim models, suffering a loss of Riley character in the process. The new management responded to the concerns of the marque’s loyal adherents by re-introducing the Kestrel 2.5 litre Sports Saloon in updated form, but as the factory was turned over to wartime production this was a short-lived development.

After World War II, Riley took up the old engines in new models, based in concept on the 1936-8 ‘Continental’, a fashionable ‘notchback’ design whose name had been changed prior to release to ‘Close-Coupled Touring Saloon’ owing to feared objections from Rolls-Royce. The RMA used the 1.5-litre engine, while the RMB got the Big Four. Both engines, being derived from pre-war models, lent themselves as power units for specials and new specialist manufacturers, such as Donald Healey. The RM line of vehicles, sold under the “Magnificent Motoring” tag line, were to be a re-affirmation of Riley values in both road behaviour and appearance. ‘Torsionic’ front independent suspension and steering design inspired by the CitroënTraction Avant provided precise handling; their flowing lines were particularly well-balanced, marrying pre-war ‘coachbuilt’ elegance to more modern features, such as headlamps faired into the front wings. The RMC, a 3-seater roadster was an unsuccessful attempt to break into the American market, while the RMD was an elegant 4/5-seater two-door drophead, of which again few were made. The 1.5-litre RME and 2.5-litre RMF were later developments of the saloon versions, which continued in production into the mid-fifties.

Victor Riley was removed by Nuffield in 1947. In early 1949 the Coventry works were made an extension of Morris Motors’ engine branch. Riley production was consolidated with MG at Abingdon. Wolseley production was moved to Cowley. Nuffield’s marques were then organised in a similar way to those of General MotorsMorris was the value line, and Wolseley the luxury marque. Aside from their small saloons MG largely offered spartan performance, especially with their open sports cars, while Riley sought to be both sporty and luxurious. With Wolseley also fighting for the top position, however, the range was crowded and confused.

British Motor Corporation

Two-Point-Six saloon 1959

4/72 saloon 1965

One-Point-Five saloon 1965

Kestrel saloon 1968

Elf Mk III saloon 1968

The confusion became critical in 1952 with the merger of Nuffield and Austin as the British Motor Corporation. Now, Riley was positioned between MG and Wolseley and most Riley models would become, like those, little more than badge-engineered versions of Austin/Morris designs.

The first all-new Riley under BMC, however, was designated the RMH, and because of its distinctive engine and suspension design, has been called ‘the last real Riley’. This was the Pathfinder, with Riley’s familiar 2.5-litre four developed to produce 110 bhp. (The RMG ‘Wayfarer’, a projected 1.5-litre version, was rejected as underpowered). The Pathfinder body was later reworked and, with a different engine and rear suspension, sold as the Wolseley 6/90. The Riley lost its distinct (though externally subtle) differences in 1958, and the 6/90 of that year was available badge engineered as a Riley Two-Point-Six 1957 Riley two-point-six 1957 207 CWL. Although this was the only postwar 6-cylinder Riley, its C-Series engine was actually less powerful than the Riley Big Four that it replaced. This was to be the last large Riley, with the model dropped in May 1959 and Riley refocusing on the under-2-litre segment.

Riley and Wolseley were linked in small cars as well. Launched in 1957, the Riley One-Point-Five and Wolseley 1500 were based on the unused but intended replacement for the Morris Minor. They shared their exteriors, but the Riley was marketed as the more performance-oriented option, having an uprated engine, twin S.U. carburetters and a close-ratio gearbox. With its good handling, compact, sports-saloon styling and well-appointed interior, the One-Point-Five quite successfully recaptured the character of the 1930s light saloons.

At the top of the Riley line for April 1959 was the new Riley 4/Sixty-Eight saloon. Again, it was merely a badge-engineered version of other BMC models. The steering was perhaps the worst feature of the car, being Austin-derived cam and peg rather than the rack and pinion of the One-Point-Five. Overall, it could not provide the sharp and positive drive associated with previous Rileys, being based on the humble Austin Cambridge and Morris Oxford. Sharing many features with the similarly upmarket MG Magnette Mark III and Wolseley 15/60, it was the most luxurious of the versions, which were all comfortable and spacious, and (nominally) styled by Farina. The car was refreshed, along with its siblings, in 1961 and rebadged the 4/Seventy-Two.

The early 1960s also saw the introduction of the Mini-based Riley Elf. Again, a Wolseley model (the Hornet) was introduced simultaneously. This time, the Riley and Wolseley versions were differentiated visually by their grilles but identical mechanically.

The final model of the BMC era was the Kestrel 1100/1300, based on the Austin/Morris 1100/1300 saloon. This also had stablemates in Wolseley and MG versions. Following objections from diehard Riley enthusiasts, the Kestrel name was dropped for the last facelift in 1968, the Riley 1300.

Between 1966 and 1968 a series of mergers took place in the British motor industry, ultimately creating the British Leyland Motor Corporation, whose management embarked on a programme of rationalisation—in which the Riley marque was an early casualty. A BLMC press release was reported in The Times of 9 July 1969: “British Leyland will stop making Riley cars from today. “With less than 1 per cent of the home market, they are not viable” the company said last night. The decision will end 60 years of motoring history. No other marques in the British Leyland stable are likely to suffer the same fate “in the foreseeable future”.

In spite of the decline of the marque under BMC, surviving well-preserved examples of the period are now considered desirable classics, the Riley ‘face’ and badge lending a distinctive character. The needs of enthusiasts are met by the Riley Motor Club, the original factory Club founded in 1925.

The future

Riley production ended with the 1960s, and the marque became dormant. The last Riley badged car was produced in 1969. For many enthusiasts, however, the name of Riley still has resonance into the 21st century. Many of the original racing Rileys compete regularly in VSCC (Vintage Sports Car Club) events, and pre-war racing ‘specials’ continue to be created (controversially) from tired or derelict saloons. For a short while, following BMW’s purchase of the Rover Group in 1994, there were hopes that Riley might be revived, since the then Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder was an enthusiast for many of the defunct British marques. After Pischetsrieder’s removal in 1999, and BMW‘s divestment of the MG Rover Group in 2000, however, these hopes faded; though the rights to the Triumph and Riley marques, along with Mini were retained by BMW.

In 2007, William Riley, who claims to be a descendant of the Riley family, although this has been disputed, formed MG Sports and Racing Europe Ltd. This new business acquired assets relating to the MG XPower SVsportscar from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the administrators of the defunct MG Rover Group, and intended to continue production of the model as the MG XPower WR.

In September 2010 the motor magazine ‘Autocar’ reported that BMW were considering the revival of the Riley brand in the form of a variant of the redesigned MINI. This would most likely be a luxury version taking its cues from the ‘Elf’ of 1961-9, with a ‘notchback’ (booted) body, and the interior trimmed in wood and leather in the manner of earlier Rileys. No sources were quoted, however, and in the absence of any statement from BMW reports of the possible resurrection of Riley must be regarded as highly speculative. ‘Autocar’ reiterated this information in April 2016.

List of Riley vehicles

Pre-World War I

  • 1907–1911 Riley 9
  • 1907–1907 Riley 12
  • 1909–1914 Riley 10
  • 1908–1914 Riley 12/18
  • 1915–1916 Riley 10

Inter-war years

Notable bodies

Post-war

Riley 1.5litre Sprite with Kestrel body 1936. The 6-light Kestrel body was given to the new 1½-litre car in 1936

Riley 12/4 Kestrel 6-Light

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